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Critical Thinking (Level 4)

Overview

  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor and tutor: Sophia Connell
  • Assessment: four short analyses/construction of arguments (15%, 15%, 30% and 40%)

Module description

This module will introduce you to key elements of critical thinking and reasoning, along with the tools to analyse and construct arguments, not just in philosophy but in everyday life. You will learn such skills as how to identify argumentative steps, recognise good and bad reasoning and evaluate evidence of different kinds. Although the focus of this module is on arguments in ordinary language, you will also be introduced to some basic concepts in formal logic that are deployed across philosophical discussions. By the end of this module you will have learned how to think and argue more effectively.

Indicative module syllabus

  • The structure of arguments
  • Inferential and deductive arguments
  • Different forms of inductive inference
  • The use of evidence, examples, visual images
  • Deductive arguments
  • Different types of definition
  • Fallacies in both inferential and deductive argumentation
  • Validity and soundness
  • Finding missing or implied premises
  • Cognitive biases
  • Propaganda
  • Imagined scenarios and thought experiments in philosophical arguments
  • Target audiences and implied knowledge
  • Working with ideas for coursework essays
  • Research skills such as evaluating sources, recognising experts

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad understanding of some of the basic concepts and issues involved in the study of reasoning and argumentation, such as inferential and deductive arguments, fallacies of argumentation and validity and soundness
  • identify some of the different ways in which informal and formal tools can be used to analyse and construct arguments
  • identify and apply the concepts and rules deployed in inferential and deductive arguments
  • apply taught criteria for evaluating both deductive and inferential arguments for both validity and soundness.